CWRU strives to both provide access to sustainable, local food to students, faculty, and staff, and educate the community about its importance.
Eating food that is grown locally means that you are getting the freshest, healthiest and tastiest food available. When food travels fewer miles to your table, it can be picked closer to its peak ripeness, retaining maximum nutrients. Local food supports local farmers who can avoid paying a middleman to market and sell their crops. Supporting local farmers also means you are supporting biodiversity in a region, and healthier land and soils. Local farmers are able to plant crops and raise livestock that don't have to withstand a lot of shipping miles or the ease of large-scale farming.
Keep reading to discover ways to eat local on campus and around University Circle!
CWRU has a strong partnership with our industrial catering company Bon Appétit Management Company (or BAMCo), who has been dedicated to sustainable purchasing and food production since the 1990’s. Bon Appétit provides sustainable food choices to campus dining halls, as well as catering special events. A minimum of 20% of food and beverage purchases for the university are required by company policy to be compliant with Bon Appétit's Farm to Fork program, or grown and processed within 150 miles. The produce purchased via this program is either certified organic or farmed using organic or humane farming practices, as confirmed by Bon Appétit by site visits. This percentage is regularly exceeded at CWRU. In 2014, 36 percent of Bon Appetit’s CWRU spend went to local producers, equating to $2 million dollars spent at local farms.
Bon Appétit’s Well-Being Program is an innovative, holistic nutrition program wherein all items in the cafés include a well-being indicator along with a calorie count. The well-being indicator is an at-a-glance visual indication of nutrition is on menu signage throughout the cafés and on the menu online. Staple items, cooked using fixed recipes, also include full nutrient analysis.
CWRU is a home to an off-campus farm, Squire Valleevue and Valley Ridge Farms, which serves not only as a research and education center, but also as a production center for fresh, local produce. Much of the produce is purchased by Bon Appetit for use on campus in the dining halls and for catering.
The farm also offers community members the opportunity to participate in a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Participants purchase shares, which support the farm’s program, and receive a bag of fresh produce from the farm weekly in return. Participating in a CSA is a great way to lower your ecological footprint. Shareholders are guaranteed fresh, seasonal produce grown oftentimes without chemicals, that have reduced packaging and miles to get them from farm to table.
The farm also sells produce at market stands at large events like the annual Farm Harvest Festival. Volunteers are always needed and welcome at the farm.
The Garden@Case, established in 2011, is a CWRU community garden located in the North Residential Village, adjacent to Mather Park on Mistletoe Drive. The Garden@Case envisions local neighborhood residents experiencing the positive outcomes of community gardening. The goal is a grassroots approach that includes food production and access, as well as educating about making lifestyle changes through healthy eating and cooking. The Garden@Case employs organic gardening techniques and is open to students, faculty, staff, as well as community members. Volunteers join in the local food movement by helping with weeding, watering and the upkeep of the garden. Produce is shared with volunteers and donated to the Cory Hunger Center, affiliated with the Cory Methodist Church in Glenville.
Local Food off-campus
Northeast Ohio offers an abundance of local produce: we are the home of the largest contiguous urban farm in the country, the Ohio City Farm. We are home to one of the oldest indoor marketplaces, the West Side Market, which celebrated it's centennial in 2012, and celebrates local food and cuisine purveyors daily. We are home to an inner-city vineyard and bioceller in Chateau Hough and an inner-city aquaponics fish and vegetable farm that also sells compost and educates kids in the Rid-All Green Partnership.
Local grocery stores like Constantino's Market in Uptown, Dave's Market in Cleveland Heights, and Heinen's in Shaker Square or downtown, have committed to providing local produce and other products when available. And during the growing season, Cleveland is dotted with farmer's markets, from right here at University Hospitals, to Shaker Square, and beyond.
Cleveland also has a thriving foodie scene, with many restaurants featuring farm-to-table menus and seasonal, rotating specialties. Close to campus, Crop Kitchen, Mitchell's Ice Cream, and Trentina all feature local, seasonal cuisine. Trentina was also recently included on Bon Appetit's top 50 best new restaurants list! Farther afield, but equally committed to local and sustainable food are restaurants such Crop Bistro, in Ohio City, Spice, in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, The Greenhouse Tavern downtown, and Fire, in Shaker Square.